Gratitude and Giving: Wekeela’s Partners in this Core Value
November can be a busy month – some of the more important parts of life come into focus during the start of the holiday season. In the United States, Election Day highlights our civic duty; Veteran’s Day highlights the importance of being thankful for the service by our Armed Forces; and Thanksgiving is all about being with family and showing gratitude. Although these values are highlighted during these occasions, they are pillars that we should live by every day, especially, gratitude and giving thanks when possible. At Wekeela, gratitude is part of our core values. It is a practice that we try to instill to our campers throughout the year. We want our campers and staff to practice gratitude, to be kind and generous everyday, rather than just on the third Thursday of November. However, we know that this effort isn’t done alone. We’d like to bring to your attention some of the amazing charities and organizations that we’ve been fortunate enough to partner with. These organizations give back to the world and work to create a better future for our children. We encourage you to practice more gratitude, appreciation, and generosity this month! Please feel free to click the link to learn more or donate to any of these wonderful organizations!
World of Change (https://www.worldofchange.world/)
Please read former Wekeela Camper, Eli Lapkin’s wonderful guest piece about World of Change:
“Outside of the new dining hall, a brightly-colored blue and orange 55-gallon barrel immediately piqued my interest. It was Wekeela visiting day 2017, and kids and parents were eagerly dropping coins into the barrel. A sign read “World of Change” and I soon learned that this non-profit’s goal was to engage youth in philanthropy by converting loose change to social change.
“Every penny counts,” we have heard time and time again, but how true is that really? According to World of Change, it’s extremely accurate. There is an estimated $10 billion in pocket change in American households alone. $10 billion. If every person in the United States donated just one penny, we would raise over $3 million. Now imagine the untapped potential that lies in collecting all of the loose change that fills couches and pockets across the country.
Inspired by this mission, I left Wekeela that summer knowing I wanted to get involved. After reaching out to Matt Hoidal, the Chief Change Maker of World of Change, we collaborated to bring World of Change to the schools in my community. The model is simple: place mason jars in every classroom of a school, give small coin pouches to every student, and let the kids work their magic. At our first school in New York, I was astounded to see jars overflowing with coins and cash, piled high to the ceiling in the principal’s office. In just two weeks, this small elementary school had raised over $1,000 from loose change. We expanded the program, with each school doing better than the last. One school raised nearly $2,000 in four weeks; the next raised over $2,000 in two.
To date, World of Change has expanded far past its roots in Maine and is now in over 65 schools and camps in 9 states. Now a youth ambassador for World of Change, my goal is to inspire kids (and adults) to realize that every small action can make a huge impact in the world. From that one summer day at Wekeela to my hometown and beyond, World of Change has shown me the power of a single penny.
If you are interested in getting involved with World of Change or have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Matt Hoidal at email@example.com. For general information, you can also visit www.worldofchange.world.”
Camp Sunshine (https://www.campsunshine.org/)
Our fellow Maine Camp Experience friends at Camp Sunshine provide a wonderful year-round week-long retreat for children and families with life threatening
illnesses. Camp Sunshine’s program is truly special, and it is unlike any camp in the country. The program is free of charge to the participants and includes on-site medical and psycho-social support. Camp Wekeela is proud to volunteer at Camp Sunshine for the 5th year in a row to offer support, love and friendship to the amazing families and children at Camp Sunshine. Wekeela LITs get the incredible experience of volunteering at Camp Sunshine for day-long or week-long programs.
Friends of Casco Bay (https://www.cascobay.org/donate/)
Another wonderful organization where our Leadership in Training Program (LITs) helped this summer was Friends of Casco Bay in Portland, Maine which focuses on environmental clean up and protection of the Casco Bay area. Our LITs helped in ocean cleanups and sustainable practices around Portland.
The mission is to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. By being a Friend of Casco Bay, you are helping protect the coastal waters we all love.
Kindness Evolution (https://www.kindnessevolution.org/)
Thanks to Kindness Evolution’s creation of Camp Kindness Day, Camp Wekeela has participated as a Founding Member Camp in the amazing movement to spread kindness, gratitude, and love throughout our camp community. We believe the world needs more kindness. We are happy to partner with Kindness Evolution in their mission to to incorporate the practice of intentional kindness into every aspect of our society.
Clynk is a local Maine recycling and sustainability company that turns recycled materials into cash for charities and organizations. Clynk focuses on communities where recycling programs are underfunded, hard-to-manage, or non-existent. Partnering with Hannaford’s Supermarkets, Clynk is trying to change the game on recycling for the better!
Trees for the Future (https://trees.org/)
Camp Wekeela is proud to be a certified Green Yearbook Camp, helping to plant 300 trees in our name. Trees for the Future has a very simple approach: the more trees that are planted, the more our environment thrives and fights climate change. The goal is to eliminate hunger and extreme poverty. Trees for the Future currently works with 300 farms in Africa to expand and plant 500 million trees by 2025.
Interested in another organization planting trees to combat climate change? Team Trees (https://teamtrees.org/) donates one tree for every dollar donated, with the goal of planting twenty million trees by Jan.1, 2020! It’s the small donations that truly add up to the biggest change.
We are so grateful to the amazing people that work hard every day to better the world at these organizations. Please remember this November that gratitude and kindness are not a one time thing. Like anything, they are practiced habits that take time and patience. We hope all of our Wekeela community has a wonderful and happy November spent with loved ones, friends, and gratitude!